This article originally ran in the July 2014 issue of AVN magazine.
There are marriages of convenience and matches made in heaven. And some unions are a little bit of both. That could be said of a new collaboration between Vivid Entertainment Group and California Exotic Novelties—it’s a pairing that’s both sensible and sensational. In fact, given how much time the two companies adult have logged at the top of the adult industry, it’s almost shocking they’ve never been in bed before.
But that will all change this month when a Vivid-branded line of products for men debuts from CalExotics at the July Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo.
The line, called the Vivid Raw Collection, will include dolls, strokers, masturbators and life-size pieces. Its 34 SKUs will be presented in packaging with masculine appeal and backed by a one-year warranty. The products will be on display at ANME, which takes place July 11-13.
The company’s two founders, CalExotics CEO Susan Colvin and Vivid honcho Steven Hirsch, talked with AVN about how they tied the knot. “Steven and I sat down to dinner one night and he showed me all the great titles Vivid has released,” Colvin said. “We’ve been friends for a long time, and it seemed like a natural progression to create a line together. From that initial meeting we began strategizing the best way to bring an innovative men’s line to market using the most well-known name in adult entertainment—Vivid! California Exotic is the toy industry leader; Vivid is the adult entertainment leader. It’s the best working with the best!”
For Hirsh, the collaboration is as much about polishing the Vivid brand as it is driving innovation in the pleasure products biz. "For the last two years our top priority at Vivid has been to extend and leverage the brand we’ve built for the past 30 years,” Hirsch said. “We’ve done this successfully by creating Vivid TV, Vivid Radio and licensing our name for gentlemen’s clubs and other products. Working with Susan and CalExotics on the Vivid Raw line is another natural extension of this strategy.”
The pinnacle in the Vivid Raw collection is the Super Model, a new love doll that is fully molded and lifelike. Various techniques have been used to create the most realistic feel possible. Inner inflation allows users to control how firm or soft their Super Model is. The lifelike vagina and anus are soft, tight and made of Pure Skin material. Measuring 5-foot-8 with long legs and flowing blond hair, the Super Model also sports a lifelike face.
In an effort to provide a quality experience at every price point, the Vivid Raw line include toys in a wide range of affordability. The Vivid Raw male masturbators are also made with Pure Skin, reformulated to resist normal wear and tear. The Vivid Raw line features two sizable asses and a full-body torso made of this durable version of Pure Skin.
According to Colvin, she and Hirsch “flirted with the idea for a while. Timing is important for a project like this. We wanted to make sure the market was ripe and that we had a complete plan in place. We’re proud to say the time is now and we couldn’t be more excited!”
In total, Vivid Raw has been in the works—from concept to design to finalizing the product line—for about 18 months. “The products will be seen by the industry for the first time at the July ANME Show. They will hit the market this fall,” Colvin said.
“Our teams brainstormed so many ideas,” she continued. “We decided to start by talking advantage of Vivid’s famous reputation for adult entertainment, which is geared toward men, and combine it with our quality products and materials to develop Vivid Raw.”
When asked whether there were plans to expand the line and create products for women, Colvin said, “There is currently a trend in the toy market for more lifelike and technologically advanced products that appeal to men. For now, the guys are the focus, but one never knows what the future holds.”
Because guys are the focus, Colvin and her team paid a great deal of attention to the appearance of the dolls in the line. She and Jackie White, CalExotics’ vice president, kept close tabs on the project, Colvin explained, working with the make-up and hair artists in the factory “to make sure all the dolls were crafted to be as gorgeous as their namesakes. We worked hand-in-hand with them to make sure all the details were captured—the hair, the eyes, the make-up, the body—even little things like capturing the right pigmentation of the nipples! These dolls look just like the actual Vivid girl they replicate. The faces are probably one of the most striking features. We used modern technology for the 3D molding. The result is an amazingly lifelike face that is unbelievable.”
And who are those Vivid Girls who served as exemplars? The Super Model, for one, was modeled on Alanah Rae. “She is gorgeous, isn’t she?” Colvin said. “The Super Model is revolutionary and lifelike. The user can feel the difference! Plus, her face is totally lifelike. This doll sets a higher standard. Yet for those with less money to spend, we have the other dolls that come in a variety of price points, so there is something for everyone!”
The other dolls in the series are also modeled from Vivid starlets, Colvin said, including Yurizan Beltran, Zoey Foxx, Kendall Karson, Rachel Love, Marie Luv and Charmane Star.
But these dolls have more going for them than a pretty face. According to Colvin, “Each doll and masturbator is made with superior materials and technology to create a lifelike experience. We’re also backing them with a one-year warranty. The amazing Super Model and her friends are going to rock the doll market. Not to mention the lifelike appearance of all the products, and the fact that they all carry the famous Vivid brand, which is destined to make them winners!”
Now that the manufacturing end has been taken care of, what comes next is the marketing. “The Vivid brand on the packaging is our first step in promoting the line,” Colvin said. “Men who know Vivid will automatically know Vivid Raw. We’ll provide Visual Merchandising Plans to retailers who can set up displays near the Vivid video section in their stores—every item in the line is a 'porn pal.' We’ll also promote the line on Vivid Radio on SiriusXM, which we’ve partnered with in the past. Additionally, the line will be promoted through all our traditional advertising, PR and social media channels.”
The PR will begin with a flourish at ANME, where California Exotic Novelties will have the entire Vivid Raw Collection on display. And there will be a broadcast from the show floor via Vivid Radio on SiriusXM.
With a cheerleader like Colvin in his corner, it’s not surprising Hirsch feels optimistic about the new venture. “We believe that over the years CalExotics has earned an unparalleled place in the industry," Hirsch said. "We’ve thought about reviving our toy line for some time and knew that we very much wanted to work with Susan and her team. I have the utmost confidence in CalExotics' ability to oversee this category of our business."